Ursula Collins, regional manager for financial advice service MABS, toldthey are hearing from families who felt their only option was to succumb to ruthless moneylenders.
It comes as thousands of children celebrate their First Communion throughout this month.
She explained that certain parts of the city are considered hotspots for moneylenders.
“Illegal moneylenders are targeting areas where there are high levels of unemployment among other socioeconomic factors,” Ms Collins said. “These are areas where people are very vulnerable to illegal moneylenders.
“Cork City is just a mirror image of what is going on all over the country,” she said. “Moneylenders know the people who are under strain and they’ll target those particular areas.”